Monday, January 31, 2011

Wake up, or keep dreaming?

The Red King Sleeping
by Kenneth Rougeau

PBS just finished airing the last of a 4-segment Masterpiece Theatre series, Downton Abbey.  Very English, very Edwardian, very good. It's set in the early 1900's, just before the Great War, and  I resonate quite deeply with that era, and even with Maggie Smith's character, Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham. She's lived through Victoria's reign and already can see the the Golden Edwardian Age is quickly dissolving before her eyes, and she frets about whether electricity will cause poisonous gases, and dislikes the kind of light gas gives off; give her beeswax candles any old day. Responding to a comment by someone of the working class at an evening dinner, she asks everyone in total innocence, "What's a weekend?"  Her loyalty to the structure society's highly strict dictates of what's acceptable and what's not, and avoiding scandal at any costs, is unwavering; it's the only way such a class system could survive. 

My peculiar resonance is not that I'm afraid of electricity or am a snob about the correct glass for barley water, but because I was practically raised by Risen people who were from that time. For certain reasons best left unsaid, my childhood was a very solitary one for the first 4 years, although quite happy, in a huge and dusty, ill-lit Victorian house that was far too large for just my parents and me. It would have been a lonely experience, too, if not for the many people in Spirit who watched over me, taught me many things about life here and there, and amused me with many strange things that still go far beyond modern technology. None had lived in this particular house, but were ancestors of mine who had lived in England and Ireland during Victoria and Edward VII's reigns. So practically everything they shared or said was coloured by what they could remember about what life on earth was like; I saw and heard things through their memories, as I had very few of my own, being so young. They educated me by showing me "movies" of some of their remembrances, from key events in their lives to subtle wisps of how the air felt, and how the light looked on the trees, and what they were feeling at the time; much of my child's life was lit by such golden moments. I had a huge room at the front of the house on the third floor, and I had to start at one end of the room and run like mad in order to leap up and get into the huge brass bed I slept in, and they often materialized glowing books with moving pictures over my head (take that, Kindle!). Most of the original Victorian furnishings and light fixtures, rugs and furniture were still in this old house, so the vibrations emanating from them further strengthened and enhanced their spirit presences, which are still with me to this day.  I even have feelings of reminiscence, even homesickness for an era I was never part of. Fortunately, they were only minor snobs, so while I do sometimes fret about having enough desert spoons and the right plates for the Rachel pudding, I certainly continue to support women's right to vote. ;)  

Some people, having this kind of experience with those in Spirit, often misinterpret such information as evidence of having a past life. It is the ego-mind which makes such decisions, taking its usual path of co-opting the truth for its own purposes, which are always motivated by its fear of its eventual dissolution, or death. True freedom of Authentic Self-living arises when one knows who one actually is, and isn't. Charles Dodgson, better known as Lewis Carroll, was born just about when Victoria came into reign, and he transitioned just before it ended in 1901. His characters, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, in his masterpiece, Alice In Wonderland, sound to me very much like how the ego-mind's irrationality manifests, such as Tweedle Dee's definition of logic: "Contrariwise . . . if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic." Dodgson seems to have been unusually wise in the ways of the ego-mind, for when Alice and the 'Dums come upon the sleeping Red King, they convince her that he is dreaming her, and that because she isn't real, when he wakes up, she will no longer exist: "Well, it's no use your talking about waking him," said Tweedledum, "when you're only one of the things in his dream. You know very well you're not real."

Like the Red King, many of us are still sleeping, and dreaming that our lives and the people in them are real. Do we really want to wake up? Alice went down the hole after falling asleep, but emerged still convinced it was all a dream. How often has that happened to us? How would we know? Maybe we prefer dreaming!